Michael D. Sorenson, PhD
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
Dept of Biology

PhD, University of Minnesota at Twin Cities

Michael Sorenson is the Associate Dean of the Faculty, Natural Sciences and a professor of biology.

His research interests are primarily in the behavioral and evolutionary ecology and population genetics/genomics of brood parasitic birds (species that reproduce only by parsitizing the parental care behavior of other species). His recent work has focused on the brood parasitic indigobirds (Vidua spp.) of Africa, in which learning and mimicry of host songs facilitates an evolutionary process of speciation by host shift, and on the speciation genomics of a group of 12 Lonchura munia species in Papua New Guinea and northern Australia that represent an extraordinary example of rapid evolutionary diversification. Together with colleagues, Mike has also recently examined the genetic basis of host specific adaptation in several different groups of brood parasitic birds, and worked on the evolutionary ecology of bat populations, including those affected by white-nose syndrome, an emerging fungal pathogen that has devastated bat populations in eastern North America.

Associate Dean of the Faculty, Natural Sciences
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences

Collaborative Research: Comparative Genomics of Host-specific Adaptation and Life History Evolution in Brood Parasitic Birds
05/15/2018 - 04/30/2022 (PI)
National Science Foundation

EAGER: The Geonomic Landscape of Species Divergence in an Extraordinary Avian Radiation
07/15/2014 - 06/30/2018 (PI)
National Science Foundation

White-nose Syndrome Research at Boston University
09/01/2013 - 12/15/2017 (PI)
Bat Conservation International, Inc.

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Parent-embryo interactions in glassfrogs - female mating strategies, paternal effort and adaptive plasticity in hatching
08/01/2015 - 07/31/2016 (Co-PI)
National Science Foundation

Dissertation Research: Bats, Bugs and Pecans: Using Next-Generation Pyrosequencing to Evaluate Ecosystem Services of Insectivorous Bats
06/01/2012 - 05/31/2015 (PI)
National Science Foundation

07/01/2010 - 01/01/2015 (PI)
Morris Animal Foundation

Dissertation Research: Speciation Genomics: Expanded Sampling of an Extraordinary Avian Radiation (Katie Stryjewski)
06/01/2012 - 05/31/2014 (PI)
National Science Foundation

The Molecular Basis of Convergent Evolution in an Avian Host-Parasite System
05/01/2013 - 12/31/2013 (PI)
British Ornithologists Union

General Support for Research on White-Nose Syndrome
09/01/2011 - 11/30/2013 (Co-PI)
The Woodtiger Fund

An Automated Aerial Telemetry System for Tracking Bats
04/01/2012 - 03/31/2013 (PI)
Bat Conservation International, Inc.

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Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Mapel XM, Gyllenhaal EF, Modak TH, DeCicco LH, Naikatini A, Utzurrum RB, Seamon JO, Cibois A, Thibault JC, Sorenson MD, Moyle RG, Barrow LN, Andersen MJ. Inter- and intra-archipelago dynamics of population structure and gene flow in a Polynesian bird. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2021 03; 156:107034. PMID: 33276120
  2. Wells CP, Lavretsky P, Sorenson MD, Peters JL, DaCosta JM, Turnbull S, Uyehara KJ, Malachowski CP, Dugger BD, Eadie JM, Engilis A. Persistence of an endangered native duck, feral mallards, and multiple hybrid swarms across the main Hawaiian Islands. Mol Ecol. 2019 12; 28(24):5203-5216. PMID: 31736171
  3. Lavretsky P, DaCosta JM, Sorenson MD, McCracken KG, Peters JL. ddRAD-seq data reveal significant genome-wide population structure and divergent genomic regions that distinguish the mallard and close relatives in North America. Mol Ecol. 2019 05; 28(10):2594-2609. PMID: 30941840
  4. DaCosta JM, Miller MJ, Mortensen JL, Reed JM, Curry RL, Sorenson MD. Phylogenomics clarifies biogeographic and evolutionary history, and conservation status of West Indian tremblers and thrashers (Aves: Mimidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2019 07; 136:196-205. PMID: 30999037
  5. Stryjewski KF, Sorenson MD. Mosaic genome evolution in a recent and rapid avian radiation. Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 Dec; 1(12):1912-1922. PMID: 29085063
  6. Gomes ACR, Funghi C, Soma M, Sorenson MD, Cardoso GC. Multimodal signalling in estrildid finches: song, dance and colour are associated with different ecological and life-history traits. J Evol Biol. 2017 Jul; 30(7):1336-1346. PMID: 28434197
  7. Gomes AC, Sorenson MD, Cardoso GC. Speciation is associated with changing ornamentation rather than stronger sexual selection. Evolution. 2016 Dec; 70(12):2823-2838. PMID: 27718251; DOI: 10.1111/evo.13088;
  8. Fossøy F, Sorenson MD, Liang W, Ekrem T, Moksnes A, Møller AP, Rutila J, Røskaft E, Takasu F, Yang C, Stokke BG. Ancient origin and maternal inheritance of blue cuckoo eggs. Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10272. PMID: 26754355; PMCID: PMC4729921; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10272;
  9. Pauli M, Chakarov N, Rupp O, Kalinowski J, Goesmann A, Sorenson MD, Krüger O, Hoffman JI. De novo assembly of the dual transcriptomes of a polymorphic raptor species and its malarial parasite. BMC Genomics. 2015; 16:1038. PMID: 26645667; PMCID: PMC4673757; DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-2254-1;
  10. Wilder AP, Kunz TH, Sorenson MD. Population genetic structure of a common host predicts the spread of white-nose syndrome, an emerging infectious disease in bats. Mol Ecol. 2015 Nov; 24(22):5495-506. PMID: 26407297; DOI: 10.1111/mec.13396;
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This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 55 publications over 21 distinct years, with a maximum of 5 publications in 2003 and 2007 and 2015


In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

brood parasitic birds
Avian behavioral ecology
population genomics
molecular systematics
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5 Cummington St
Boston MA 02215
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